Spring 2024 - LBST 201 D100

Workers in the Global Economy: Globalization, Labour and Uneven Development (3)

Class Number: 4877

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2024
    Sun, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101.



Explores how people experience paid and unpaid work in the global economy. Focuses on processes such as migration and economic structuring, and applies critical development studies and critical geopolitics to study labour and employment. Explores links between capitalism, urbanization and labour struggles. Examines labour internationalism and global labour rights. Students with credit for LBST 230 under the title "Workers and Global Capitalism" or "Work and Employment in a Globalized World" and IS 221 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course is designed to help students understand the complex interplay between globalization, labour markets, and economic disparities. It engages with the relevant literature on globalisation, uneven development and the shifting structures of labour. Globalisation has set in motion new dynamics of labour and has created new kinds of labour and labour conditions. It has simultaneously opened and closed spaces and possibilities, it has brought about both enabling and disabling effects, and it has worked through, built on, undermined, and underlined various forms of inequality. To capture this complexity, this course sheds light on the three interconnected dimensions and processes of globalisation (economic, political, and cultural), paying particular attention to flows of capital and flows of people. We will focus on the racialized and sexualized dimensions of globalization and unpack the notion of racial capitalism.

The lectures focus on global actors (i.e. networks, elites, and institutions) who shape and regulate global flow and labour relations. Specific reference is made to state policies and political institutions, migration and migrant labourers, the emergence of the “global city,” and their implications for labour relations as they intersect with gender, race, and other axes of inequalities. Towards the end, we explore, in greater detail, workers’ movements and national and transnational struggles over recognition, redistribution and representation.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the concept of globalization and identify its historical development and key drivers, and the major actors and institutions involved.
  2. Explore the diverse experiences and roles of workers in the global economy, including their rights, working conditions, and challenges.
  3. Recognize the role of government policies, labor unions, and civil society organizations in shaping the conditions of workers in the global economy.
  4. Assess the ethical and social implications of globalization, including the potential for exploitation and human rights violations.
  5. Analyze case studies and real-world examples of how globalization has influenced workers' lives and livelihoods in different regions and industries.


  • Class attendance and participation 10%
  • Two short essays (25% x2) 50%
  • Final exam (In class) 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



The key readings for each week will be available on our course page on Canvas. 


Recommended reading lists for each topic are to help you deepen and expand your knowledge and understanding of a particular theme. You will also find many other relevant titles in the library, as well as in academic journals. You are *not* expected to engage with these readings.

  • Visvanathan, N. et.al. (2011). The Women, Gender, and Development Reader. Bloomsbury.
  • Stevens, A (2014). Call Centers and the Global Division of Labor: A Political Economy of Post-Industrial Employment and Union Organizing. Routledge.
  • Engster, D. and Tamara Metz eds. (2014) Justice, Politics, and the Family, NY: Routledge.
  • Andrews, Abigail (2019) Undocumented Politics: Place, Gender, and the Pathways of Mexican Migrants. Oakland: UC Press. 
  • Williams, M. S. (2020). Strategizing against Sweatshops: The Global Economy, Student Activism, and Worker Empowerment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html